The ar­ro­gance of an en­ti­tled se­nior cit­i­zen

Watchmen Daily Journal - - OPINION -

After a day of run­ning er­rands re­cently, stopped into a cloth­ing store at a lo­cal mall and picked up a pair of shorts. Stopped at the cashier and was sec­ond in line. While wait­ing, a sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive walked an­other cus­tomer to the cashier and added them to the line. Right away, no­ticed the lat­est cus­tomer push­ing his items to­wards the cash regis­ter; he even took out the money to pay for it.

By the time the cashier fin­ished with the first cus­tomer in line, walked for­ward to give the cashier the shorts but she in­stead grabbed the hat and cash that was sit­ting in front of her. Turned to the guy and let him know there was a line. He turned away and ig­nored the com­ment.

As the cashier pro­ceeded to ring up his pur­chase, turned to him again and asked, “You don't wait in line?” He dis­mis­sively replied, “I'm a se­nior cit­i­zen” and quickly turned away. Once the cashier was done with his pur­chase, he grabbed his item and creeped out of the store.

Repub­lic Act No. 9994, or the Ex­panded Se­nior Cit­i­zens Act of 2010, signed into law by cur­rent Speaker of the House, then Pres­i­dent Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo, out­lines all of the ben­e­fits Filipino cit­i­zens over the age of 60 are en­ti­tled to.

Se­niors are el­i­gi­ble for a 20 per­cent de­duc­tion on cer­tain goods; ex­emp­tion from the value-added tax; dis­counts on med­i­cal ser­vices, den­tal ser­vices, pub­lic trans­porta­tion, do­mes­tic travel, among other items; five per­cent mark­down on util­i­ties; ed­u­ca­tional as­sis­tance; among an ar­ray of other rights.

While Sec­tion 4(k) in­di­cates, “[Se­niors are en­ti­tled to the] pro­vi­sion of ex­press lanes for se­nior cit­i­zens in all com­mer­cial and gov­ern­ment es­tab­lish­ments; in the ab­sence thereof, pri­or­ity shall be given to them,” it does not give any­body the right to flaunt an ar­ro­gant at­ti­tude to oth­ers (re­gard­less of age, no­body should be walk­ing around with that kind of de­meanor).

Such an at­ti­tude runs com­pletely con­trary to Sec­tion 2(d) of the said law, which states, “[The law in­tends] to en­cour­age their fam­i­lies and the com­mu­ni­ties they live with to reaf­firm the val­ued Filipino tra­di­tion of car­ing for the se­nior cit­i­zens.” Per­son­ally, ar­ro­gance and con­ceit­ed­ness are not nec­es­sar­ily among “val­ued tra­di­tions;” more like re­spect for oth­ers, and treat­ing peo­ple fairly and equally. De­spite grow­ing up in the United States, given how “re­li­gious” the coun­try claims to be, could not im­age such self-im­por­tance would be among the val­ues cher­ished by those who grew up in the Philip­pines.

As the law in­di­cates, its pur­pose is to “rec­og­nize the rights of se­nior cit­i­zens to take their proper place in so­ci­ety” and “give full sup­port to the im­prove­ment of the to­tal well-be­ing of the el­derly,” but when such honor­able goals are marred by a pompous in­di­vid­ual who is bet­ter char­ac­ter­ized as “en­ti­tled” rather than “de­serv­ing,” such a ges­ture goes to waste.

Ear­lier that day, was in line to pay a bill with a se­nior also wait­ing. How­ever, while be­gin­ning the trans­ac­tion, she at least ex­cused her­self and, given her re­quest was mi­nor, she was able to be as­sisted with­out a prob­lem. It's what many ex­pect of the older gen­er­a­tion – po­lite and gen­tle.

Hav­ing a par­ent who is a se­nior, they take ad­van­tage of ev­ery el­i­gi­ble ben­e­fit but have never once cut a line and sneered at fel­low cus­tomers – it's not in his char­ac­ter to com­mit such a re­pug­nant act.

If more se­niors act like the man at the cloth­ing store, the “val­ued Filipino tra­di­tion of car­ing for the se­nior cit­i­zens” will quickly fade away be­cause such snob­bery will only breed re­sent­ment.

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